Here is a link to the IETF's working team charter:
One of the most frustrating problems with instant messaging today is the lack of interoperability. I can't use MSN Messenger to chat with my friends on AOL Instant Messenger or Yahoo Messenger.
Well, a communications protocol under development by the Internet Engineering Task Force, or IETF, holds the hope of solving this problem in the not-too-distant future.
The "SIP for Instant Messaging and Presence Leveraging Extentions," or SIMPLE, establishes a uniform format for exchanging messages between different SIMPLE networks.
This protocol is at the heart of the recently announced interoperability tests between AOL Instant Messenger and Lotus Sametime.
The good news is that, at least so far, both Microsoft and AOL have announced support for SIMPLE. Hopefully IM interoperability is around the corner.
In the meantime, there are the "interoperable" clients you can use now, like Odigo and Trillian. They aren't truly interoperable, in that you still need an account on each IM network you want to connect to, and it still connects to each network seperately, but it's a taste of things to come.
Oh yeah, and they're free.
I use Trillian, it is great, I don't have to have 5 programs open to talk to different people, all in one. Hopefully interoperability will be soon, because I hate having different messengers to talk to people.
And most other people don't like switching Instant Messengers because they are used to the one they are using, or know a lot of people that use it.
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